Football

AFC member Richard Lai admits to corruption charges in U.S probe

Guam Football Association’s president Richard Lai has pleaded guilty to charges of bribery and corruption at a U.S court.

Richard Lai is also a member of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee, and he is on the Asian Football Confederation’s executive board.

The United States Department of Justice confirmed that Richard Lai admitted to receiving $100,000 in bribes from an AFC official. He accepted the bribe in exchange for vote and support for the FIFA 2011 elections.

On another account, he also accepted $850,000 from football officials all over Asia, between 2009 and 2014. In exchange, he used his position as a FIFA official to execute favours for those who have given him the money.

Apart from that, Richard Lai is also guilty for not disclosing his foreign bank accounts.

He has agreed to pay over $1.1 million in penalties and forfeiture.

“The defendant abused the trust placed in him as a soccer official in order to line his own pockets.” Bridget M. Rohde, an Acting U.S. Attorney said.

“The defendant’s breach of trust was particularly significant given his position as a member of the FIFA Audit and Compliance committee, which must play an important and independent role if corruption within FIFA is to be eliminated.” Rohde added.

The investigation was led by U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the FBI New York Field Office, and the IRS Criminal Investigation Los Angeles Field Office.

According to ESPN, this marks the first time that investigation in the U.S has involved an Asian official.